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100 Edible Mushrooms Paperback – July 20, 2007
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About the Author
Michael Kuo, an English teacher in Illinois, is the developer of mushroomexpert.com, a popular online resource for mushroom identification and morel hunting.
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The book begins with warnings and descriptions of toxic mushrooms, including many that might be confused with popular edibles. Curiously, the first mushrooms described are those you can find in the supermarket. That may seem odd, but Kuo has a very good reason for doing this. He wants you to get a sample of mushrooms that are absolutely, positively identified, and then study them to really learn about distinguishing features. Brilliant, really. The wild mushrooms themselves are divided into good beginner mushrooms, those requiring some experience, and the "difficult' ones- those best picked by experts only.
There's some disagreement between experts on what constitute good beginner mushrooms- for instance Kuo puts the Hen of theWoods into the middle category, whereas many authors consider it a good beginners mushroom- but Kuo errs on the side of caution, and I think that's a good idea. He also warns against falling into the trap of becoming too bold, and too adventurous, like those who take pride in eating the non-toxic Amanitas. That's a dangerous game to play, even for experts. Kuo admits that he really had to push it to find 100 edible mushrooms. Of those listed, many aren't really choice, or even desirable to eat. Perhaps a book entitle "43 Edible Mushrooms" would be more useful, but it probably wouldn't sell as well.
All in all a very attractive, wittily written, and useful book, and a fine addition to any Midwesterner's mushroom library.
If you want to expand your knowledge of mushrooms and enjoy reading well written and sometimes entertaining mushroom lore in easy-to-understand plain English, you will love this book.
All the measurements are metric. Since my brain refuses to make the conversion, I read the descriptions with a ruler that features inches and centimeters in hand.
The section on poisonous mushrooms is especially good, and the Focus Points are great. I keep returning to this book again and again after consulting other mushroom guides, and it often answers questions about specific mushrooms that the other books leave unanswered.
I also use Michael Kuo's excellent online identification keys for mushrooms not covered in this book.